A Visionary Plan for a Submerged Aquarium in NYC’s East River

Aquatrium-Arch Out Loud-Aquarium East River-NYCNYCAquatrium by Lissoni Architettura

What if there was a submerged aquarium off the Long Island City waterfront in Queens? The organization Arch Out Loud holds visionary competitions to push the boundaries of architecture and its open design competitions respond theoretically to a changing world. The latest was the NYC Aquarium and Public Waterfront open ideas competition. Though the competition is not a response to a current city or developer initiative, it certainly has roots in conversations going on in New York City. There was, after all, a partially submerged aquarium proposed as part of the Big U (Dryline) Project.

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The winning entry, NYCAquatrium, comes from the Milan-based firm Lissoni Architettura. NYCAquatrium would create a new basin, requiring additional dredging that probably won’t fly with the Army Corps of Engineers. But this dredging would create two levels, one lower which could contain the submerged aquarium, and a higher level that would contain a floating green island. At night, the floating island would cover the aquarium, turning into a planetarium, the entire movement mimicking the natural movements of a shell. One side of the acquarium would be a public space/beach, and a new park would be created along the waterfront edge.

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NYCAquatrium won’t become a reality but we are curious to see if we will see echoes of this design in future projects around the world. See more winners from Arch out Loud.

Next, check out the NYC That Never Was: 10 Outrageous Plans That Never Left the Drawing Board.

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